Larry Kirshbaum has been talking about the future of Amazon Publishing, and he’s made some interesting comments that reveal a lot about how Amazon’s new venture is likely to develop. You can read a summary here, but the key points are:
- Literary novels are going to be a big part of Amazon Publishing. Kirshbaum says that they’re interested in books that show promise but are not ready for “prime time”. That suggests Amazon is willing to work with authors in much the same way that traditional editors work with authors.
- Amazon Publishing plans to release 3 or 4 books each month, around 40 per year. They see themselves as a start-up, as a small publisher, although Kirshbaum acknowledges that they have the backing of Amazon’s retail arms. He promises innovative marketing techniques.
- Kirshbaum also mentions physical bookstores a lot. He talks about how much he enjoys going into them. He seems to see the ebook co-existing with traditional bookstores, although implicit in this is the idea that the latter will have to change to deal with the new market.
Overall, it’s a very upbeat and optimistic set of comments from Kirshbaum. Obviously the devil is in the detail and we’ll have to wait and see how Amazon Publishing actually performs, but Kirshbaum certainly talks a good game. In fact, his vision for Amazon Publishing seems (to me, at least) to be more appealing than the visions (or lack thereof) that have been coming from the traditional publishers. I’m no Amazon fanboy, but I’m quietly impressed by Kirshbaum so far, certainly enough that I’m interested to see if they deliver on their potential.
So where does KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) fit into all this? As Amazon moves ahead, I’m sure they’re going to give some serious thought to cleaning up the KDP platform a little, perhaps removing some of the more notorious spam and plagiarised content. It’ll be interesting to see how they do that. Amazon also seems committed to working with libraries, with Kirshbaum noting that it’s often the case that library books help to give a boost to novels that go on to become commercial successes. All in all, an encouraging set of comments. But will the reality match the fantasy?